Perth is not known for its video game development industry, and with only a handful of studios in the eastern states, neither is the whole of Australia. Though this project began as simple start-up for a local 3-person game studio, it evolved into something more, with the potential to change the this.

The developers originally just wanted a brand and identity, website design and physical collateral system which they could use to when they launch their first game which they are currently working on, but through this project, the true potential of this company start-up was realised. Not only could the studio feasibly provide work opportunities for games artists, coders and designers in Perth in the future, but since video games can be easily distributed online, they could also change people’s perspective of the Australian video games development industry, and encourage investing in Australian games studios.

While the achieving of these goals relied primarily on the success of the studio’s games, this project could actually make a significant difference to this success. Through creating a professional and memorable brand and identity, appealing collateral system, and a strong and professional online presence, Oraculum Studios would not be able to be easily dismissed as some once-off small-time studio, but would be seen as a professional, passionate and highly capable studiowho are making an impact in the video games world.

The first stage of this project was the research stage. This involved investigating the branding, websites, social media and merchandise of other popular games studios, as well as the the games development industry in Perth and Australia and the stakeholders for the project. Doing so showed me what things games studios were doing well and where things could be improved, as well as what obstacles would need to be overcome due to people’s perceptions of Perth’s video games development industry and the state of the games industry in Australia.

Using this research, I developed a brand and identity, and proposed outputs for the collateral system and online campaign. The brand and identity involved a colour scheme, typography, tone, graphic style and logo. While a logo is only one component of a brand, for games studios they are particularly important, as they are the only piece of company brandingseen in or on video games. For this reason, I needed to choose a unique name (Oraculum Studios) and a logo which stood out and was easily memorable (since studio logos are only shown for a couple of seconds in games). After the developers had approved the name Oraculum Studios, I created 30 logo concepts (seen above) for them to choose from, recreating the top few digitally, and then refining and developing the final chosen design into the wordmark and icon logo variations.

Once I had created the brand and identity, I could then create the collateral system. Using my research, I determined that a promotional poster, T-shirt and mouse pad would be the most effective, as they appealed to the target market, and were popular mechandise in other games studio stores. I also created business cards as part of the collateral system, since they are a key toupoint for almost any company.

To design the mouse pad, I researched other mouse pad designs, paying particular attention to the mouse pads featuring art from other video games. I determined what elements to feature on the mouse pad (a character, quote or tagline of some sort, and the company logo) and then created a draft mockup in photoshop. After receiving approval from the developers, I refined the design in Photoshop, drawing the character in properly and touching up the tagline text.

Pile of business cards.Neatly arranged business cards.Business card concept drawing.Business card prototype 1 (closed)Business card prototype 1 (open)Business card prototype 1 (opening)Business card prototype 2 (closed)Business card prototype 2 (opening)Business card prototype 2 (open)

As explained earlier, business cards were chosen as part of the collateral as they are an important touchpoint for any start-up. However, since Oraculum needed to stand out, I didn’t want them to just have a generic business card - I wanted to make the business card interactive in some way. I researched creative business card designs for inspiration, and then brainstormeda range of video game elements and motifs which everyone recognises, which led to the loading bar design seen above. I did a rough sketch of the concept, considering how the card would function. I then developed a rough protoype using card, and through doing so, realised that the actual card needed to have empty space where the loading bar was to go or people would be able to see text through the die cut in the sleeve. I also realised the inside of the sleeve needed to be a different colour to the outside in order for the loading bar effect to work, and that the tabs for gluing the sleeve needed to be at the top and bottom and not the left edge, as the card could catch on the tab on the left edge making it difficult to slide the card back into the sleeve. Through this process I was able to develop a business card which would make Oraculum Studios stand out and which people would be liekly to keep because of the novel experience it comes with.

Front of T-shirt with cartoon girl in prison jumpsuit with prison cell door silhouette in background.Back of T-shirt with tagline "We all need an escape sometimes."Cartoon character in prison jumpsuit in various colours.Cartoon character in prison jumpsuit with various background colours.Rough T-shirt design with cartoon girl in prison jumpsuit with abstract paint splatter background.T-shirt design with cartoon girl in prison jumpsuit with abstract paint stroke background.T-shirt design with cartoon girl in prison jumpsuit with prison cell door silhouette background.Tagline "We all need an escape sometimes" design.Abstract paint stroke background.Prison cell door silhouette background.

For the T-shirt I firstly researched other T-shirt designs featuring logos and characters from games or movies. I wanted to create a design which was meant for a shirt - I didn’t want simply an image printed on a shirt. So in my research, I looked for designs which did not feature rectangular-framed images.

This led to the initial two designs - a simple Oraculum icon logo and the game character with an abstract white paint-splatter background. I did not print the shirt with the logo design, as I realised that it would likely be years before the company had made a big enough name for itself that people to want to buy/wear a shirt featuring their logo. However, people would be likely to buy a shirt with a character they like on it, regardless of how well-known the company is, so I continued with the design featuring the character (I did still provide Oraculum Studios with the necessary assets so that the logo T-shirt could be printed in the future).

Before designing any further, I experimented with colour and different graphic styles. I did a mockup of my second iteration which featured the completed character, an abstract paintstroke, and added the Oraculum Studios wordmark (seen above). It was only the third iteration that consolidated the design. I added a design on the back of the shirt featuring the game’s tagline, and changed the background to a prison cell door silhoutte (both pictured above). Adding these elements provided needed context for a new character people may be unfamiliar with, and would give the game more exposure through having a design on both sides of the shirt.

The process for developing the poster began with researching other game posters, and then deciding what elements I needed to include (the character, tagline, logo and some sort of background). I then brainstormed some compositions before selecting one and then creating this in Photoshop. This process took many hours, requiring colour exploration, attention to lighting, smooth line art and the inclusion of textures and small details.

The cap was another pieces of collateral which I designed, but did not end up taking to print for the same reasons as the logo T-shirt (see above t-shirt explanation). Again, the assets necessary to get these designs printed in the future were provided to the studio.

In terms of the online campaign, I proposed a social media strategy and provided mockups which Oraculum Studios could use as a basis for creating their own social media. Through researching the social platforms of other games studios, I determined which social platforms (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) would be the most beneficial for Oraculum Studios, and what kind of information should be posted on each in order to maintain a strong relationship with their fans.

Person holding phone with Oraculum Studios' website.Laptop showing Oraculum Studios' website.Oraculum Studios' website desktop wireframe.Oraculum Studios' website tablet wireframe.Oraculum Studios' website mobile wireframe.Oraculum Studios' website desktop design composition.Oraculum Studios' website tablet design composition.Oraculum Studios' website mobile design composition.

A website is essential to establish a strong online presence, and as such was included as part of the online campaign of Oraculum Studio’s start-up. The process involved research into other large and small games studios’ websites to determine what pages, functionality and information should be included on Oraculum Studio’s website to ensure they came across as a highly capable, professional and ‘complete’ studio. The goals for the website were determined, and it was then a matter of organising the information on the site. This was done through designing wireframes for desktop, tablet and mobile displays for the homepage, ensuring that there was a clear visual hierarchy, style, good information architecture, straight-forward navigation, and an intuitive, clean design.

The last stage was the design compositions (design comps). Based on the wireframes and incorporating the feedback received, I developed design comps for desktop, tablet and mobile views for the homepage (click the thumbnails above to see this).

Through this project, Oraculum Studios was given the necessary components to launch a professional brand and online campaign once they are ready to do so. While their success is mostly dependent on their games, the brand and identity, collateral system, social media strategy and website provided through this project will help them build on their success in ways that could change the games development industry in Perth and Australia.